Opposition, treasury confrontation derails debate on budget in Sindh Assembly.


KARACHI -- A ruckus broke out in the Sindh Assembly on Tuesday during the third day of debate on the provincial budget as treasury and opposition members hit each other below the belt.

While the intermittent protests by the lawmakers from the two sides marred almost the entire session, the situation took an ugly turn after Education Minister Saeed Ghani and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan legislator Javed Hanif exchanged harsh words.

The MQM-P member, who was given the floor to speak on the budget, became visibly irritated when Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani interrupted him and switched off his microphone reminding him that his allocated time of 10 minutes for debating the budget had ended.

The speaker told the MQM-P member not to 'give me dictation' when he insisted on having some more time for his speech. 'It was decided with the consent of parliamentary leaders of all opposition parties that every member will have 10 minutes to discuss the budget in the house,' Mr Durrani said, adding that Mr Hanif had already consumed 15 minutes.

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The information minister's utterances, which were not audible in the press gallery, however, added fuel to the fire as the disgruntled opposition MPA aggressively moved towards the treasury benches before other members from both sides rushed to prevent a fistfight.

Earlier, the house turned into a fish market when Grand Democratic Alliance member Nusrat Sehar Abbasi started shouting during the speech of ruling Pakistan Peoples Party member Ghazala Sial.

Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari, who was in the chair at that time, tried to calm down Ms Abbasi but to no avail as the GDA member kept standing and continued her protest over the remarks by the treasury members. She continued her protest almost during the entire session.

MQM-P member Mangla Sharma appeared so dismayed over the situation in the house that she said the hullabaloo had eventually become a parliamentary tradition in the assemblies.

In their budget speeches, most of the members from both sides mainly focused on defending and lauding their respective leadership and had little to say on the provincial budget.

'Illegal budget'

Javed Hanif of the MQM-P said that the budget was illegal as it was presented in contravention of Article 140-A of the Constitution. He said the budget was also presented in violation of the Sindh Local Government Act 2013 as it made the...

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